It was seen that the works of founders of States, law-givers, tyrant-destroyers, and heroes cover
but narrow spaces and endure but for a time; while the work of the inventor, though of less pomp,
is felt everywhere and lasts forever.          - Francis Bacon Preface to a Treatise on Interpreting Nature

The Design of Everyday Things

Every inventor should take this free online course. Learn the basics of design and start observing and applying design principles.

How to Design Breakthrough Inventions

A CBS interview of IDEO founder David Kelley

How to Build a StartUp

In this free online course, learn the key tools and steps for building a successful startup (or at least reducing the risk of failure).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November 2012

[Thanks to Dave Zedonis for reporting this event] 

Wes Bickers (account executive for the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Inc.) and Dave Zedonis (president of the Indiana Inventors Association) began to explore the possibility that inventors and the Smart Partners Alliance might collaborate for mutual benefit.

The Indiana State Use Program is a public/private partnership, operated by the Smart Partners Alliance, that trains and employs disabled Indiana residents.  The Program encourages Indiana governments (state, county, and other) to buy (without competitive bidding) products and services from community rehabilitation programs that employ Hoosiers with disabilities.  Participating disabled people gain an increased sense of self-worth, more economic independence, and inclusion in society.  Indiana governments gain more taxes and pay out less public assistance.

Inventors might also benefit from this Program.  Participating employers are eager for more work and can provide what inventors need – resources (facilities, workers, and expertise), goods (prototypes, products, and designs for manufacturing and packaging products) and services (manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and order fulfillment).

Stay tuned for our progress in developing this collaboration!  Thank you for working with us, Mr. Bickers.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August 2012

[Thanks to Dave Zedonis for reporting this event.]

For 40 years, David Woll (Woll Enterprises, Inc.,, 317.727.1577) has mentored, advised, and raised funds for new and young companies. He suggested ways for an inventor interested in starting a company to raise and use funds.

First, develop materials that will help persuade people to invest in your company.
  • Make a prototype of your invention, so people can experience it. 
  • File a provisional application for a patent, to start the process of protecting an investment in your invention. 
  • Socialize your budding company with the business community (angel investors, attorneys and patent agents, bank loan officers, distributors, marketers, manufacturers, salespeople, technical advisors, etc.) and keep a record of those relationships that you can show people, as an indication that your company can operate successfully. 
  • Write an executive summary of your business plan, to show that your company will likely yield a profit.  Your summary should be realistic – overestimate expected costs and timelines and underestimate expected profits. 
  • Plan how to negotiate with people to get the investment you want. 
  • Create a 3-5 minute sales pitch that will interest people in your company.
Then use your sales pitch to start a conversation with potential investors you meet at entrepreneur boot camps and startup weekends.

Thank you for your professional advice, Mr. Woll!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 2012

[Thanks to Dave Zedonis for reporting this presentation.]

Michael Stokes (CEO and founder, Waveform Communication) told us about his new model for using waveforms (visualized electronic patterns) to identify vowels.  Machines based on his model may make it easier for listeners (animate and inanimate) to hear spoken vowels.  Potential commercial applications include more accurate systems for dictation and for voice‑activated electronic searches, hearing aids that provide clearer hearing, and broadcasts that persuade whales and other animals to avoid dangerous areas.

The Kaufman Foundation named Mr. Stokes’ company, Waveform Communication (located in the Purdue Technology Center of Indianapolis), as one of the top 50 startups worldwide in 2011.  Participating in Startup Weekend helped Mr. Stokes to acquire funds from an angel investor, a better business plan, helpful professional contacts, and an appreciation of the 60-second marketing pitch.  More information about Mr. Stokes’ model may be found in his book “The Waveform Model of Vowel Perception and Production”.

Thank you for sharing your pioneering invention with us, Mr. Stokes!

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012

(Thanks to Dave Zedonis for reporting this presentation.)

Mr. Cedric D’Hue (patent attorney with Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP; 317-635-8900; discussed the recently passed America Invents Act.

The Act is a step toward creating a single worldwide system of patent law that would simplify and decrease the cost of getting and enforcing a patent.  Among other things, the Act specifies a new requirement for getting a patent from the United States government.  Now, a patent is awarded, by the U.S. to the first inventor of an invention who within a reasonable time applies for a patent, and by almost all other countries to the inventor of an invention who first applies for a patent.  The U.S. now awards a patent to an inventor who is the first to document imagining the invention and who diligently embodies the invention, either as a working model or as a patent application that alleges that the invention works as intended.  As of March 2013, the U.S. will join almost all other countries in awarding a patent to an inventor who first embodies the invention as a patent application, regardless of whether that inventor was the first to document imagining the invention.

Both now and under the Act, a provisional application for a patent is a useful tool that holds your place in line for getting a patent.  This kind of application can not itself lead to a patent, but is a relatively inexpensive way to get at-first-glance priority over other true inventors seeking a patent for the same invention.  The application must describe the invention in enough detail to enable one of ordinary skill in the technology to make and use the invention that will be eventually claimed in a nonprovisional application, which can lead to a patent.  Now, but even more so under the Act, an inventor will tend to file a provisional application for each inventive increment of an invention, rather than to file an application for only the finished invention.  Within 1 year after filing the first provisional application, an inventor who still wants to devote the time and resources needed to get a patent will roll all of the provisonal applications into one nonprovisional application.

Thank you for helping us understand the new Act, Mr. D’Hue!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December 2011

(Thanks to Dave Zedonis for summarizing this event.)

Members met to discuss how they are adapting to the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (9/16/2011), which imposes the biggest change to U.S. patent law in almost 60 years.

One provision of the Act takes away the long-standing American right of the first inventor of an invention to claim patent protection for the invention.  Now, in keeping with long-standing European law, an inventor (1st or 1001st) who first applies for a patent has the right to claim the patent.

One strategy for adapting to this change is to file a series of provisional applications as you gradually develop your utility invention.  Doing so gives you a particular file date for each inventive increment of an invention.  Then, within 1 year of filing your first provisional application, file a nonprovisional application that incorporates the previously filed provisional applications.  Within that 1 year, you may sell, test, or test market the invention, or begin to create a manufacturing or distribution network for the invention.  In doing so, the use of nondisclosure agreements can help maintain the patentability of your final invention.

The Act did not change the value of hiring a professional to find out, before you submit a nonprovisonal application, whether published information would prevent you from patenting your invention.

Patent Drawings by Richard McVicker

Some inventions patented by our members:

Bob Brand
3,179,907 Tuning system for television receivers
3,219,933 Television tuner switching system
3,241,072 Tuning control system
3,538,466 Television tuner cast housing with integrally cast transmission lines
4,503,740 Optical cutting edge locator for a cutting apparatus
4,503,896 Dog system for veneer slicer
4,601,317 Veneer slicing system
5,511,598 Veneer-slicer with remotely controllable blade angle adjustment
5,562,137 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,590,700 Vacuum flitch table with self-cleaning vacuum valve
5,678,619 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer from a tapered flitch
5,680,887 Veneer slicer with timing belt
5,694,995 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,701,938 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,819,828 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,868,187 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,395,843 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,552,750 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer sheets from a flitch

Kenton Brett
6023685 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6704713 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6907405 Computer controlled priority right auctioning system
7647269 Computer-based right distribution system with reserve pricing
7698210 Computer-based right distribution system
7720746 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
7747507 Computer controlled auction system
7769673 Computer-based right distribution system with request reallocation
7992631 System and method for seasonal energy storage
8073765 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
8128407 Method and system for teaching math
8538856 Computer-based right distribution system
8732033 Computer-based right distribution system with temporal variation
9614733 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system
9900220 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system

James Dougherty
8622039 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9488074 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9366158 Unitary cam follower and valve preload spring for a desmodromic valve mechanism

Ron Jackson
4,886,110 HVAC zone control system
4,943,039 Adjustable clamp
4,987,409 Level sensor and alarm
5,132,669 Level sensor with alarm
5,381,989 Adjustable spring clamp
5,944,098 Zone control for HVAC system
6,145,752 Temperature monitoring and control system
6,322,443 Duct supported booster fan
D347,596 Audible security alarm
D376,747 Door security device

Jerry McQuinn
D689,343 Universal Nutcracker

Richard McVicker
3,261,937 Three position snap switch utilizing interference blade means
3,319,477 Timer Escapement
3,332,704 Manually propelled treadmill vehicle
4,625,616 Thumb pick
6,309,076 Light barrier, screen or reflector
D240,237 Sculpture or the like
D356,653 Yard light
8389839 Thumb pick

Bill Pangburn
5,943,831 Device for Hauling Objects

Matt Thie
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
4,844,446 Multiple-compartment currency stacker-sorter
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
7,298,280 Lighted fluid flow indication apparatus
7,617,826 Conserver
8146592 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid flow or conserving fluid flow
8230859 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid

Don Walls
D707090 Torque key lever
RE36209 Door lock apparatus

Dave Zedonis
5,637,926 Battery powered electronic assembly for wheel attachment

Patent Document of the Month

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